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Jesus doesn’t fit in our boxes

By Dr. Chris Surber

Conservative Christian, Donald Trump may be your president, but Christ is our King. Liberal Christian, you may win many progressive social victories, but our battle is not against flesh and blood.

Our paradigms are flawed. Jesus doesn’t fit into our boxes, and we shouldn’t be so comfortable in the boxes of the world. Jesus never called you to be a conservative. It is a fool’s venture to say that Jesus necessarily votes Republican.

When Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” it was a way of dismissing an entrapping question.

The point wasn’t that God gets half of us, and Caesar gets the other half. He was dismissing the underlying assumptions of the question. He was saying, “What belongs to Caesar? His money. His power. His politics. Empty your pockets to Caesar and fill your heart with God.”

It is insane to try to make the same Jesus some kind of conservative All-American savior, but it is no less silly to imagine Jesus to be your transgender bathroom-lobbying progressive hipster hero.

Jesus said things like abandon our lives to find them. No one speaks less favorably of a life of self-satisfaction and personal freedom than Jesus. Where God’s Word speaks plainly, we ought plainly to listen. Compassion is not at war with truth. Mercy doesn’t invalidate reality.

Committed Christian conservatives twist the way of Jesus by replacing personal holiness with collective morality. It’s easier. Make society moral, and then we’ll all be just good enough.

Committed Christian progressives twist the way of Jesus by replacing personal holiness with collective kindness. Just be really super over-the-top nice to everybody, and then we’ll pretend we’re all good enough.

Whether we conquer by hijacking the sword of conservative political power or under the rainbow flag banner of social justice, our worldly affections betray us.

The way of Jesus is neither Conservative nor Liberal. The way of Jesus is a third way.

The path of Jesus is specific. “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14 NKJV) Jesus defines His path, not my politics.

The path of Jesus is spiritual. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13 NKJV) Jesus defines His path, not my preferences.

The path of Jesus is supernatural. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)

The path of Jesus is not political. Vote your conscience. Vote for financial gain. Do what you like. But please, oh please, don’t co-opt Christ for your ends.

Those who follow the third way love in truth. Those who follow the third way seek holiness and mercy.

Jesus doesn’t fit in the world’s boxes, and if we are called to imitate Him, we shouldn’t fit in their boxes, either.

The Rev. Dr. Chris Surber is the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church. Email him at chris@chrissurber.com.